Christianity Culture

In the Name of Outreach

“A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart, the less he will require from the outside; excessive […]

“A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart, the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man.”      

~A.W. Tozer on “The Great God Entertainment”

Spiritual bankruptcy. Not finding anything to fill that hole within and blaming it on the wrong church, wrong pastor, hypocrites, etc.

Here’s another interesting one, this time from C.H. Spurgeon in his “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?”:

“From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, “and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him.”

Our culture thrives on stimulation. We’re constant pleasure-seekers, wanting the most fun in the most time, with the least amount of money or self-involved production. We have expectations when we attend church. My expectations are quality Sunday school for my children, nursery for my toddler, fulfilling and inspiring music, and a message that lingers within for more than the hour it takes to preach. A program such as AWANA for the kids rounds out the whole experience. What are your expectations?

Something is watering down the depth of our testimony. Is it that we’re so busy with everything that we’re getting apathetic? Because the message we’re sending the world when we have cake walks during the Sunday service is this:

Jesus isn’t enough.

What do you find yourself doing with your free time? Educating yourself? Spending time with the Lord? Or seeking entertainment?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. For the entire messages behind the above quotes, go here.

3 replies on “In the Name of Outreach”

I think that American Christianity has gotten wrapped up in being busy. We have a lot of programs, a lot of activities, a lot of things that we are doing in the name of the Lord, but we are doing them on our own strength.

Deep down are missing the fact that we should be doing it in His strength. We are empty, like Tozer said, and we try to fill it with activity.

At my church, being the small size that we are, we have times where we wonder if we should consolidate some smaller classes together, but can’t come to do it because “we’ve always offered this class to this age group.”

Churches seem to get into a rut (another great Tozer book: Rut, Rot or Revival) where we have to do things because we’ve always done them that way.

It’s time to start looking at our heart.

What an excellent post. I have found that as we desire to be all things to all people we have somehow begun allowing ourselves to fall into the very same rut or trap of worldliness.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:15-16

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

We have to be so careful what we do as you said, “In the Name of Outreach”. I enjoyed this post and has given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

Thank you both for your insight as well. I’m guilty of promoting the “fun stuff” of Awana and VBS…in this age of fast-paced stimulation it almost seems necessary to lure in the kiddos…my motives are to get them there and have them enjoy learning about God, and there’s nothing wrong with that reasoning if we don’t get carried away. Sometimes the “fun and games” outshine the “meat” of our message.

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